Who is Provision Consulting?

Provision Consulting is a full-scale comprehensive management consulting company offering tailored business solutions to support new and established international and local businesses who desire to propel their organization forward through innovative strategies.

Provision Consulting’s research addresses issues related to corporate strategy, operations, and general management. We focus on analyzing and identifying management initiatives, processes, tools, and frameworks that will allow our customers to avoid reinventing the wheel in addressing problems they share in common with their competitors.

With over 20 years of experience in managing high-quality executive memberships, with over 2,400 large corporate members around the world, and over 1,400 staff in our Washington, D.C., Allen, Texas, and London offices, we are more excited than ever about the unique capability we offer our members as well as the opportunities that reside ahead to extend and to deepen our impact on these executives and their enterprises.

We are committed to partnering with you in making your goals into reality. Whether you’re working towards business or personal goals, we are here for you. We will complete each project from start to finish with integrity and excellence. In the end, it’s your business, your dream, your vision and we are honored to be a part of it.

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Our Mission: We are committed to helping businesses of all levels carve their path.

When you’re on a diet, you can get so obsessed about every pound you gain or lose that you can forget the reason you went on a diet in the first place: to look and feel better. Companies that outsource and offshore their services and labor are on a metaphorical diet. By focusing narrowly on cost reduction, they can lose sight of the other important benefits outsourcing can offer. When aligned with a company’s overall business strategy, outsourcing can actually be transformational — a catalyst for change that can improve performance and give companies a leg up on their competitors.

Consulting, Analytics, Digital Solutions …Highlights:

  • Companies often only take cost savings into account when they make their outsourcing and offshoring deals. But as long as they end up saving money, what’s the problem? (1:39)
  • How can a Risk Intelligent approach help minimize the risks and maximize the rewards at every stage of the outsourcing life-cycle? (10:25)
  • Companies use a variety of measures to manage contract compliance after a deal is completed. What kinds of measures should they implement to make certain they actually get what they pay for? (21:26)
  • In some cases boards and senior management can be held accountable for a third party’s malfeasance. How can companies minimize this risk? (24:00)

Provisional Consulting

A business challenge can be sporadic, and can spread across a dozen time zones before you even have time to finish your morning coffee. Or it sneak up quietly, blurring familiar boundaries and unraveling specific rules of engagement. You know what it takes to respond. Understanding the whole picture. Productivity. Margins. Technology. Relationships. Even taxes. Then comes the hard part: figuring out how to blur your own boundaries to drive value.

At Provision Consulting, we help executives work together by offering solutions that bridge the interests of the entire organization. Our industry experience, broad capabilities and deep alliances mean we can help you make the most of opportunities and avoid unnecessary risk. Our promise is simple. We help clients create more value.

The Global Provisional Opportunity

The opportunity to develop new business in the global marketplace is significant. For many organisations, future growth depends on their ability to service new international clients and coordinate cross border business activity.

because of this complexity, international
business ventures frequently fail to reach
their anticipated potential

Realizing international business initiatives necessitates close contact with markets, organizations and individuals outside the home country. Successful global organizations deploy the necessary expertise quickly and flexibly across national and cultural boundaries.

This requires novel and dynamic ways of working that frequently challenge established structures and patterns of operation and create a cross-cultural and organizational complexity absent in purely home country operation. Because of this complexity, international business ventures frequently fail to reach their anticipated potential.

The Provisional Consulting Solution

Provision Consulting provides advice, support and solutions built around the most advanced thinking in global management and utilizing the latest technologies. We improve international business success by ensuring appropriate organization design and activity with the right people in the right positions.

Because businesses are diverse, we approach every organization from the perspective of its strategic aims and business needs to identify how best these can be achieved through effective international operation.

Provision Consulting delivers three major service lines:

  1. International Assignment Solutions
    Developing Talent for International Assignments
  2. International Human Capital Solutions
    Developing International Leadership and Teamwork
  3. International Organization Development Solutions
    Developing International Organization and Managing Change

Advanced solutions for business globalization

Provision Consulting was established in 1997 when founders Ron Rembisz (USA), Hans Begeer (Belgium) and Alastair Macfarlane (UK) worked together on an international project for a large global car manufacturing company. At that time we had each established our own successful consulting practices and accumulated many years of international experience between us. We well understood the climate of globalisation and the challenges facing international business. We also recognised the common themes in our work and the potential for collaborating to establish a consulting practice with the broader resources to service clients’ needs across a variety of international locations and contexts. This potential was realised in the formation of Provision Consulting.

Since its inception, we have invested significant resources in the development of a unique set of products and services which address the corporate challenges for international business in the 21st century. Our approach reflects both our academic backgrounds and our many years of practical, consulting experience.

Whilst remaining small, we have broadened Provision Consulting’s service delivery capacity by developing a network of relationships with similarly qualified and experienced consultants in other countries to become an effective virtual organisation. This allows us to deliver consistent, flexible, quality solutions using highly experienced consultants while maintaining a cost base well below that of larger consultancies whose administrative structures can make them not only expensive but bureaucratic, impersonal and slow to respond. Our structure and collaborative way of working reflect important elements of our values which are central to the way we work with our clients.

Provision Consulting: OUR AIMS

We believe Provision Consulting is unique in its approach. We deliver tailored solutions to international organizations to help them achieve their strategic goals through effective leadership and management of their human capital worldwide. Approaching international corporate challenges from a strategic perspective, we seek to add value to business performance through creative but pragmatic solutions using reliable methodologies and the latest technologies.

We believe there are three major elements of international operation which present particular business challenges and therefore group our services under three distinct but related service lines:

  1. International Assignment Solutions provides solutions for the challenges facing organizations and individuals working in cross-cultural environments.
  2. International Human Capital Solutions delivers solutions which recognize the particular challenges facing international teams and leaders.
  3. International Organization Development Solutions recognizes the complexity of structure and the context of constant change in international organizations and acts to support these strategic dimensions.

Provision Consulting: OUR VALUES

We work from the belief that, as with individuals, organizations have a unique personality which requires unique development solutions. In working with client organizations we seek to develop a partnership relationship which allows us to add value through the delivery of appropriate solutions and the creation of internal capabilities. In doing this we actively implement the following values and will:

  • build personal and supportive client relationships which means that we are as interested in your success as you are
  • exhibit a high level of responsiveness and commitment showing flexibility in the generation of solutions tailored to your specific needs
  • work to support your company’s strategic business vision while delivering practical support
  • deliver creative and innovative solutions to support changing environments
  • demonstrate a high level of integrity and professionalism to achieve cost-effective solutions and outstanding client satisfaction

Provision Consulting: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If I was going to send a member of staff on an overseas assignment, how exactly could Provision Consulting help?

Provision Consulting will help your company:

  • Define the specific needs of the assignment and organizational context
  • Identify the required technical and personal competencies for the assignee
  • Generate a pool of pre-screened candidates
  • Define a suitable selection process
  • Help assess candidates and their families, where appropriate, as part of this process
  • Advise on a candidate’s suitability
  • Help prepare a candidate and their family for the assignment
  • Provide support during the assignment
  • Help plan to maintain continued contact with the home organisation
  • Facilitate repatriation
  • Assist with the transfer of international knowledge and experience on return

For products and services to assist you with each of these steps, see our International Assignment Services.

Which personal characteristics are most likely to contribute to an employee’s successful international placement?

It really is not just about knowing the language. At Provision Consulting, we have identified 4 major areas of performance and 14 individual competencies to predict success in an international assignment:

GLOBAL ORIENTATION
  • Global Vision
  • Cultural Empathy
  • Broad Perspective
PERSONAL RESILIENCE
  • Ability to Deal with Stress
  • Adaptability Ability to Deal with Ambiguity
  • Flexibility
PERSONAL BALANCE
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Self Knowledge
  • Drive
  • Humility & Realism
INTERPERSONAL QUALITIES
  • Interpersonal Empathy
  • Interpersonal Versatility
  • Ability to Build Relationships

Provision Consulting has developed tools which include self-assessments, psychometric tests, 360 degree feedback tools, in-depth interviews and assessment centers which allow us to effectively assess an individual’s strengths, risks and development potential and in-assignment support needs against these competencies.

How often do international assignments fail?

Failure in international assignments can range from the early return of the assignee and their family to failure to achieve expected goals. At the most extreme, estimates suggest failure rates as high as 56%, however, even more conservative estimates* suggest there is a performance shortfall in up to 20% of international assignments with

“around one in five employees report(ing) considerable initial difficulties in adapting to an international assignment”

“one in six families report(ing) negative outcomes to international assignments ”

“there is also unequivocal evidence that many staff have experienced considerable problems after they have returned to the UK”.

Although this data applies to expatriates, international project leaders and team members whose work involves international travel and/or work in international teams, but who remain based in their home countries, also suffer similar negative impacts.

* Financial Times Management Briefings; Managing Staff on International Assignments, 2000

Why do overseas assignments sometimes fail?

Most HR managers correctly measure an individual’s technical expertise and managerial ability when assessing suitability for an international career. However, assignments do not generally fail because of a lack of technical or managerial ability. The major contributory factor to failed international assignments is the inability of the employee and/or their family to adapt to a life in a different national and cultural environment.

For instance, the “trailing spouse” may be unable to pursue a career of his or her own, the employee may fail to adapt to a different communication pattern or behavioural expectations in the host country or the employee and family may find it difficult to make friends in their local community and feel isolated. Even though they may have successfully completed a previous international assignment, their personal and family circumstances may have changed and the culture and role to which they are being assigned may be very different. This is why a broad and extensive selection process – of which the spouse and children are very much a part ? should play a vital role in any placement.

What are the hidden costs of a “failed” international assignment?

The costs of failed assignments are not difficult to measure where there is a direct loss to business but the less tangible elements of human performance make precise costing of the financial consequences less clear cut. However, costs usually relate to the following areas:

  • The cost of getting the employee (and their replacement) to the location in the first place which, including a full expatriate package, could be as much as €1 million.
  • Potential loss of experience and knowledge as an employee who returns from a failed assignment is more likely to leave the company. The cost of recruiting a replacement.
  • As the benefits of an assignment are generally realized over time, delay in having someone in post could lead to considerable long-term business losses and/or additional costs.
  • The significant risk that business relationships will be damaged by an employee who is unable to operate effectively within the international culture. These could be relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and colleagues which could do long-term damage to the credibility and success of the subsidiary and parent company. This is arguably the greatest potential hidden cost.

These risks can be substantially reduced by carefully planning recruitment and selection processes and providing appropriate development and support to assignees.

How can I measure my return on investment for international assignments?

The key to measuring return on investment is to have a clear set of agreed goals for the international assignee to achieve and to agree measures for these at the beginning of the assignment. In this way the assignee can effectively prioritize their work and allocate resources to achieve the agreed goals. The assignee’s performance can be monitored, benefits clearly tracked and any necessary adjustments made as the assignment progresses. Alignment between assignee performance and business objectives is achieved, there is significantly greater likelihood of a successful outcome for the assignment and measurement of return on investment becomes more tangible. Provision Consultingi will help define these goals as part of the selection process so that the success of the assignment can be effectively measured.

A frequently ignored and under-valued element of return on investment is the contribution that can be made by international assignees on their return to their home organization. Unfortunately ineffective repatriation practices frequently result in the complete loss of this potential benefit since returnees leave their employers significantly more frequently than do domestic employees, particularly during the first 18 months following their return. Provision Consulting will assist with repatriation processes to reduce this risk and will help in facilitating knowledge transfer to ensure assignees ‘ international experience and knowledge is captured and shared in the organization to inform future global success.

We don’t want to have a member of staff living permanently in another country. What other options exist?

Until recently it was normal for an international assignments to last between three and five years. However today, assignments tend to be more short-term and diverse. Broadly four types of international assignments can be identified:

  1. Long-term international assignments– tend to last between two and five years, the employee is located internationally on a full expatriate assignment, including housing, education, remuneration premiums, transportation, relocation etc.
  2. Short-term assignments – generally last between a few months to a year and involve the employee but typically not the family who remain in the home country.
  3. Commuting assignments – the individual works at a location outside their home country but returns home regularly, for example, at weekends.
  4. Virtual assignments – the employee lives and works in one place (usually the home country) while some, if not all the job responsibilities are in a different location. Typically, virtual assignments involve responsibility for international teams of individuals operating in a variety of different countries and require regular visits to these subsidiary operations eg international sales teams.

Provision Consulting can help work through the pros and cons of each of these options for your company and assist in setting up the appropriate structure and selection process to identify the right person for the assignment.

We already have a number of staff either on international assignments or working in international teams. Our challenge is how to develop effective leadership and team working in groups of mixed nationals. How can Provision Consulting help?

In any organization, teams are comprised of individuals with different personalities, perspectives, and needs. Add to these dimensions the potential for cultural misinterpretation and different national business agendas, along with infrequent or even non-existent face-to-face team meetings, and the complexity of international leadership and teamwork is substantially compounded.

Provision Consulting can assist with the development of effective international leadership and help develop collaboration within and between international teams. We will work with individual leaders, team members and/or the whole team using day-to-day, work-based activity or “off-sites” to help accelerate effective leadership and team performance.

How can we prepare ourselves for our increasing need for staff to work across national and cultural borders?

Recruiting and developing people with an international mindset, building talent pools for international assignments and developing effective international leadership and teams (having the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time) are critical to success. However, these are unlikely to be sufficient to guarantee success on their own. Change, often structural and certainly cultural, is frequently necessary to ensure success in servicing new, and often very different markets. Defining an appropriate structure and culture is often difficult and, even once defined, the implementation process is fraught with difficulty, is time-consuming, costly and all too often less successful than it should be.

Provision Consulting can help with the strategic, structural, cultural and organizational change processes that may be necessary to successful international operation, business growth and long-term success.

Can Provision Consulting help us with international mergers and acquisitions?

International mergers and acquisitions represent one particular type of organizational change which are a common feature of global business activity and need to be carefully managed. Most mergers and acquisitions fail to reach their full potential because of poor integration of diverse organizational structures and cultures and inappropriate deployment of senior staff post-integration. Provision Consulting can assist clients assess how best to integrate merged or acquired companies and help with the evaluation of senior staff and their placement in the new structure.

We are a global concern with many international offices. Does Provision Consulting only deal with UK-based companies?

Provision Consulting has offices in the UK, Belgium and the USA. Whilst remaining small, we have broadened our service delivery capacity by developing a network of relationships with similarly qualified and experienced consultants in other countries to become an effective virtual organization. This allows us to deliver consistent, flexible, quality solutions using highly experienced consultants while maintaining a cost base well below that of larger consultancies whose administrative structures can make them not only expensive but bureaucratic, impersonal and slow to respond. Our structure and collaborative way of working reflect important elements of our values which are central to the way we work with our clients (see below).

What kind of people work with Provision Consulting?

Provision Consulting was established in 1997 when founders Ron Rembisz (USA), Hans Begeer (Belgium) and Alastair Macfarlane (UK) worked together on an international project for a large global car manufacturing company. Their common approach reflects both their strong academic backgrounds and their many years of practical, international consulting experience.

Although coming from diverse backgrounds, Provision Consulting‘s network of consultants share the dimensions of strong academic credentials as well as substantial consultancy experience in an international context. We well understand the climate of globalization and the challenges facing international business and have invested significant resources in the development of a unique set of products and services which address the corporate challenges for international business in the 21st century.

What makes Provision Consulting different from other consultancies?

We believe Provision Consulting is unique in its approach. We work from the belief that, as with individuals, organizations have a unique personality which requires unique development solutions. In working with client organizations we seek to develop a partnership relationship which allows us to add value through the delivery of appropriate solutions and the creation of internal capabilities.

Our strong internal values underpin the tailored solutions which we deliver to international organizations to help them achieve their strategic goals through effective leadership and management of their human capital worldwide. Approaching international corporate challenges from a strategic perspective, we seek to add value to business performance through creative but pragmatic solutions using reliable methodologies and the latest technologies. Click here to find out more: About Us

Advanced solutions for business globalization